After contemplating suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, 16-year-old Craig Gilner decides to go to the hospital to seek help. Craig tells Dr. Mahmoud that he needs immediate help to which Dr. Mahmoud registers Craig for a one-week stay in the hospital's psychiatric floor. It is revealed that Craig has a lot of pressure at his high school, Executive Pre-Professional (based on Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School), stressing over the need to turn in an application for a prestigious summer school, his shortcomings in the shadow of his best friend, Aaron, whom he considers to be great at everything, and his dad who pressures him to do well. At first, Craig is uncertain if he made the right choice to stay, mostly due to the fact that his friends might find out when he misses school, especially Nia, his crush and Aaron's girlfriend. He is placed in the adult ward with a few other teenagers because the teenage ward is undergoing renovations.
Craig is introduced to Bobby, an adult patient who claims he is only there on vacation, as he takes Craig under his wing. During a group discussion, Craig learns that Bobby is stressed about an upcoming interview in hopes of moving to a group home. When Bobby states that all he will have to wear for the interview is the sweater that he is currently wearing, Craig offers Bobby one of his dad's dress shirts to wear, and Bobby accepts. Craig's kind offer to Bobby is witnessed by Noelle, another teenage patient who is in for self-harm. She is impressed by Craig and leaves him a note to meet with her that night. Later, Craig and Noelle attend a painting session for the patients. Craig paints a picture of an imaginary city map which he describes as "like my own brain".
Throughout his stay, Craig forms close bonds with various patients, including Bobby and Noelle. Bobby reveals to Craig that he is a father of a little girl and that he is actually in the ward for attempting to commit suicide six times. As Craig tries to help Bobby with his problems, Bobby, in return, helps Craig to gain the courage to ask out Noelle. One night, Nia suddenly stops by to visit Craig, revealing that she and Aaron have broken up. Craig asks Nia to his room, where she tries to seduce him. However, the two are caught by Craig's roommate Muqtada, an older patient who has not left the room during his stay. As Nia runs out of the room, Craig chases her and calls out that he loves her, unaware that Noelle is standing behind him. Upset, Noelle storms off leaving behind a self-portrait that she had planned to give Craig.
Craig eventually wins Noelle's forgiveness, and the pair sneak out of the ward in scrubs and run around the hospital, ending up on the roof. There, while Craig is trying to finally work up the courage to ask her out, Noelle takes the initiative and asks him, then they kiss afterwards. Later, when Craig has an interview with the head physician, Dr. Minerva, he explains that he has realised that he wants to become an artist, and says he should be thankful that his problems aren't as bad as those of the others. That night, Craig arranges with one of the staff for a pizza party, promising to pay the cost, so the patients can say goodbye to him and Bobby, both of whom are being discharged the following day. He calls Aaron asking him to bring a record. When Aaron delivers the record, he tells Craig that he and Nia are working out their problems and they embrace. At the party, Craig plays the record, which is Egyptian music, bringing Muqtada out of his room. Craig tells Bobby that they should meet again after they are discharged, which Bobby considers, and thanks Craig for changing his outlook on life.
In the morning, Craig asks Smitty where Bobby is, but discovers Bobby had left earlier that morning. Craig is a little disappointed, but is happy that he and Bobby had left an impression on each other. After Craig leaves, it is shown that he starts dating Noelle, becomes better friends with Aaron and Nia (who are still together), begins pursuing his goal of becoming an artist and has broken the news to his dad that he isn't going to follow his path, which his dad understands. The movie ends with saying that while his stay didn't cure his condition, it helped him a lot, and he can get through the rest of his life with the help of his family and friends. The final scene shows how he goes on to live his life with his family, friends and Noelle.Keir Gilchrist as Craig Gilner
Emma Roberts as Noelle
Zach Galifianakis as Bobby
Viola Davis as Dr. Minerva
Zoë Kravitz as Nia
Thomas Mann as Aaron Fitzcarraldo
Aasif Mandvi as Dr. Mahmoud
Bernard White as Muqtada
Lauren Graham as Lynn Gilner
Jim Gaffigan as George Gilner
Matthew Maher as Humble
Adrian Martinez as Johnny
Jeremy Davies as Smitty
Willian Silvan as Willian
Mary Birdsong as Bobby's ex-wife
Novella Nelson as The Professor
Morgan Murphy as Joanie
Dana DeVestern as Alissa Gilner
Laverne Cox as Transgender Patient
Ethan Herschenfeld as Solomon (Acid Head)
Ned Vizzini as The Music Teacher
In May 2006, Paramount Pictures and MTV Films acquired the film rights to the novel. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were hired to adapt the screenplay. The film was later placed in turnaround and bought by Focus Features.
Production began in New York City on November 30, 2009. Principal photography took about six weeks, ending on February 2, 2010. Scenes taking place in the fictional Executive Pre-Professional High School were shot at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, while Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn stood in for Argenon Hospital.
As of May 13, 2010, the film completed editing. Canadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene worked on the score for the film.
The film was originally scheduled for a limited release in the United States on September 24, 2010. Focus Features later opted for a wide release of approximately 500 theaters across the US and a release date of October 8, 2010. The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
To coincide with the film's release, Hyperion Books published a new edition of the novel, featuring photos from the film on the cover.
The film aired on HBO cable in the summer of 2011.
The film has received generally positive reviews from most film critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 63, based on 33 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews", and a user score of 7.6/10 which indicates "Generally favorable reviews". Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 58% rating based on 129 reviews, with an average score of 6/10 and a consensus of "It's amiable, and it does a surprisingly good job of sidestepping psych ward comedy clichés, but given its talented cast and directors, It's Kind of a Funny Story should be more than just mildly entertaining."
It's Kind of a Funny Story was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 8, 2011.